Anyone who lives in - or has visited - Dubai before, knows that the city is incredibly fast pace. It is surrounded by skyscrapers, places to be and people to see, and let's not forget the traffic! When and where is one to find a quiet moment away from all the hustle and bustle and mall shopping sprees ?! Fear not! We have found the perfect place for you to unwind, and enjoy a shopping experience more relaxing and unique than most other places we could think of in the city.
As impressive as the city of Dubai is, being ever-changing and man-made, we have to admit that it can lack a certain 'je ne sais quoi'... Calm, authentic and natural places are not found at any given street corner. However the XVA Gallery really is that one little Oasis of authentic design, art and well being. A little further away from the city center and all its glory, the XVA Gallery provides a sense of peace and simplicity which is often missed in big cities.
The shop of the Gallery allows a totally different shopping experience than you could ever imagine in Dubai. The simply beautiful space feels almost like you're walking into someones home, full of warmth and fun. Known as a concept store you can find products from all over the region including jewelry, accessories, fashion items as well as art books.
We had a chance to speak to Eleanor Smith, the Gallery Manager at the XVA Gallery, to find out more about the concept behind the store and the fabulous items on sale.
Your Shop is unlike most of the Museum/Gallery shops that we have experienced, can you tell us what the concept behind your shop is?
Our concept is simple - we want to show beautiful and unique pieces, there are no limits. We design and make items in house, but also collect things from all over the world. We like to promote craftsmanship, not the mass produced. Everything has a different story, origin and purpose. We have homeware, fashion, design, vintage and antiques, ceramics etc.
We've noticed that there is a huge selection of artworks available in the shop space. How does it differ to what the gallery exhibits?
The gallery is our main focus and primary business. The main gallery space where we show the current exhibition is separate to the shop and store room. The gallery store room is open to the public and near to the shop but it is more a store room then a retail space. The shop is an important part of our operation but it doesn’t operate on the same schedule as the gallery and retails at a lower price point. We have a more relaxed selection process and sell fashion and home ware items.
Do you focus on local artists and designers when choosing the items within your store?
We do have a strong focus on the region; there are so many beautiful things available from this part of the world, and so many talented artisans. That being said we do also source pieces from further afield if they catch our interest.
Some of the clothing displayed looked vintage; is that part of the concept of your shop? Where do you pick your clothing items from, and where are the designers mostly from?
Yes, vintage clothing and antique design items are a part of our concept. We like to encourage the idea of reusing beautiful things that already exist! We find the vintage and antique pieces are in keeping with our aesthetic and our search for the unique.
What are some of the most interesting items that are available in the XVA Gallery Shop? Do you have a personal favorite?
XVA Label! Most of our clothing items are our own label, one of a kind pieces made and designed in house.
What do your clients look for when they come to the shop? Are they mostly interested in the artwork or the accessories and books?
Clothing and accessories are very popular. For those interested in artwork XVA Gallery has a beautiful collection and represents a very talented pool of artists.
How do you feel the XVA shop is different compared to other museum and gallery shops across the world?
Often the beauty of a museum of gallery shop is that it always offers something different, things that you won’t find anywhere else.
We look at the two spaces as separate entities. One is XVA Gallery, our primary focus. Established in 2003, XVA is one of the leading galleries in the Middle East that specializes in contemporary art from the Arab world, Iran and the Sub-continent. Exhibitions focus on works by the regions foremost artists as well as those emerging onto the scene. The gallery’s artists express their different cultural identities and perspectives while challenging the viewer to lose prejudice and ignore borders. XVA Gallery exhibits both locally and internationally; collaborating with galleries and participating in international art fairs, such as Art Basel Hong Kong and SH Contemporary, in order to further expose Middle Eastern contemporary art.